Monthly Archives: August 2011

FDA’s Gluten-free Labeling Laws, Part 2

On Friday I started digging into the FDA’s proposed gluten-free regulations. We talked about the PPM that the FDA is setting up: 20 PPM is currently the proposed threshold under which a food can be accurately labeled gluten-free.

Today let’s delve deeper, shall we? Setting a threshold is one thing. Communicating that threshold to consumers is another. This is one of the areas of the rule that the FDA seems most eager to hear comments about – it doesn’t matter whether you’re a scientist or a hair-dresser or a birthday party clown, if you eat gluten-free food the FDA wants you to be able to shop knowingly and safely. And who better to tell the FDA what you want to see on a label than you?
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FDA’s Gluten-free Labeling Laws, a Closer Look

On Wednesday, the FDA reopened the floor for discussion about their proposed gluten-free labeling.

Hooray!

This is a very good thing. This is why there were giant cakes baked, marches marched, petitions signed, etc. And the fact that the FDA is open to comments and interested in listening to what we all collectively have to say about our health – even better.

It’s also a very detailed thing. Before you comment – and the more comments the better – it’s important to understand what it is you’re commenting on. Which is why we’re going to take a few posts to dissect the proposed legislation and what it means.
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California Pizza Kitchen: Cross-Contamination Concerns?

We love getting comments. And we got a LOT of comments on our post about California Pizza Kitchen’s new gluten-free menu the other week. Not all of them were positive, so we wanted to acknowledge the dispute.

In reading the comments on our site – and in digging around the blogosphere for more stories – it’s quite clear that there’s been a mixed reaction to CPK’s menu. While some people have gone and had positive experiences, others have reported cross-contamination. And still others have chosen not to eat the pizza after speaking with their local branch about food safety measures.

The crux of the matter seems to be that the toppings and the prep area are shared between gluten-full and gluten-free ingredients, leading to a potentially risky environment for anyone with celiac disease. As alluded to fairly clearly in the disclaimer, the same utensils are likely used for different crusts. Plus, there is the possibility that a local supplier will use a non-gf alternative without informing the kitchen. There may also be a certain amount of flour in the air.

So, while the measures in place have been sufficient in many cases to keep diners happy and safe, it’s entirely understandable that a number of people don’t feel comfortable enough to eat at California Pizza Kitchen.

At the end of the day, we’re big believers in the, “when in doubt, leave it out” school of gluten-free thought – and also in the belief that when it comes time for you to make a decision about your diet, more information is always better than less.

Accordingly, please keep the comments coming: have you personally been to a California Pizza Kitchen? Do you have celiac disease, or do you keep a gluten-free diet for other health reasons? Have you spoken to a chef there, and if so were you made to feel comfortable about the gluten-free menu? If so, how was your meal? If not, why?

Cold Soup, a No-Sweat Summer Solution

I love summer, but it’s hot outside. I love cooking, but it’s hot in my kitchen when the oven’s on. What’s a girl to do?

Some days, the answer is takeout, or a salad. But other days, I really want to be in the kitchen futzing around for a while. And for now, that means cold soup.

For many, the world of cold soup begins and ends with gazpacho. There’s nothing wrong with that gazpacho is delicious and healthy and stands up to endless tinkering. Do you want it spicy or not? Chunky or pureed? Which herbs do you want to play with? What veggies look freshest at the market this week?
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